Short story of a failed digital marketing enthusiast.

It’s human nature to keep giving excuses to make ourselves to feel better. But, your heart speaks the truth and keeps reminding you that you’re just fucking things up with your own bloody reasons.

After finishing my high school, I wanted to achieve something others can’t. I had the deep interest for Chemistry and wanted to pursue my studies in Chemical Engineering. It was exciting to imagine having a Chemical engineering degree and work for multinational company with a great pay. But, it led me to failure. I joined a private university and enrolled for American Degree Program (ADP) which made me overjoyed as it looked cool. I quit from that course as I felt it was overwhelming for me. Waste of money and time! But still I had the passion to keep pursuing Chemical Engineering.

As I wanted to do Chemical Engineering so badly, my father suggested me to pursue some other courses which was relatively easy. However, I was stubborn to do Chemical Engineering. After a long discussion, my dad suggested me to take Diploma in Chemical Engineering to understand the fundamentals of engineering first to see whether it is suitable. I have to mention here that my father had more than 15 years of experience working for engineering firms.

I was still having the excitement and passion to be an engineer. I was just 19 that time. I would admit I was still not aware of hows things work in the real world.

My first semester was super awesome with a GPA of 3.67 and I was convinced that I’m going to do well for the remaining semesters. The results were good until I reached semester 3. That is when the disastrous moment of my life started, I failed my Engineering Mathematics 1. As a person who scored a distinction for Mathematics and Additional Mathematics, I was furious on how I could fail the subject. I re-sit for the final exam and failed again. It drove me crazy!

I went to semester four where the core subjects of the course were taught. I got to agree it does not seemed to be what I had assumed. Mass and Energy Balance subject killed me. Some of you reading my post might laugh at me and thinking that this guy is a joke of not researching thoroughly on the course he pursued. Fine, it was my mistake after all.

Meanwhile, I was introduced to the world of Internet marketing. As it was still new in Malaysia, I was eagerly reading lots of stuffs related to it and started providing link building @ link spamming (2016) services for websites looking to rank higher on search engines. Blackhat methods were still working in 2007 and 2008 with the use of tools like Xrumer and Scrapebox. I had great success and was earning few hundred bucks per month. However, I was paying that money to re-take my failed subjects. I was persistent to finish my course no matter what it takes. I had to stop relying on my parents because it was my mistake choosing something that I thought was my passion and end up totally failing in it. I was suffering from failure!

I was embarrassed to repeat my failed subjects where I had to attend the classes with my juniors who were way younger than me. At last, I manage to complete my Diploma in 4 years. I know it’s like WTF, I should have finished it in 2 and half years ago but dragged another 1 and half years.

The question was, what was the lesson I learned from choosing something that I assumed to be my passion?

Most importantly, never ignore your parent’s advise. My parents are awesome people who worked hard from the ground to be better people within the society. I still look up on them even today for what they have achieved in their life though they did not make millions. My parents are organized and self-disciplined people who are ready to face difficult situations because they are well prepared. As being a young adult, I did not appreciate what my parents had done for me. If only I had listened to my parents, I might not have faced the failure with my studies.

So, I completed my diploma and was eagerly looking for a job. I was still making a mistake finding jobs related to chemical engineering. However, I did not get a job related to engineering. I was called up for a phone interview from Melbourne based market research company for quality control officer position as they were expanding their business to Malaysia.

I was hired for the job and was one of the pioneer within the company’s Malaysia branch. So my working life started smoothly. I had great manager, good team members and my working life was awesome. Parents were happy that I was doing something useful rather than sitting idle at home. I received my confirmation within 2 months for permanent position. I was still actively learning about digital marketing after my working hours. I was having deep interest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Content Marketing. I started few websites and tried to monetize them with Google Adsense. I had little success with those efforts where I managed to sell one of my android jailbreak website for $1,000 as it was ranking 3rd for the keyword “android jailbreak”.

It was amazing to sell my first ever website. Later, I regret selling the website for such cheap price because there was a huge potential where I could have sold the website for $xx,xxx. I did not document the strategies I used to rank the website which made me look like a total “IDIOT”.

I was getting bored with my daily job as it was a repetitive job. I was not learning anything new. I was associated with one of my friend who was passionate about digital marketing. We were making plans on launching our own digital marketing company. It was hard for me to balance my full-time job with other business opportunities. On the other hand, my parents were pressuring me to complete my degree.You need to know about the Indian community in Malaysia. If a guy does not have a minimum degree qualification in our community will be labeled “useless” or “good for nothing”.

I argued with my parents that I did not want to study again as I believe that education does not make someone successful. At the end of the day, I had to compromise with my parents as I gave more importance to their happiness than my own. As my job was getting boring day by day, I was suddenly offered with a senior position with more tasks and responsibilities. I decided to resign from the job and pursue my degree. My manager was disappointed with my decision and offered me alternative option to work with the company as a casual employee. I hesitated at first. I did not want to rely on my parents once I start my degree. So, I agreed to work with the company as a part-time employee.

I enrolled for Bachelor of Arts (Honors) Business Studies with a private university which offered undergraduate study from the Cardiff Metropolitan University. The best part, I secured a study loan which covers the entire course fees :). Maybe you might be wondering and having sinister laugh on your face with a question“Why never continue your degree in Chemical Engineering?” I didn’t want to make the same mistake I had done earlier. I was already 25 when I enrolled for my undergraduate. Some of my friends had even started their masters degree.

The mistakes that lead to my failure is still buzzing in my mind today. I don’t have the time to make more mistakes! I’m getting older. I found my real passion for “digital marketing”. I started following Neil Patel, Brian Dean and many others who are dominating the digital marketing industry. I started reading articles, blog posts and case studies, to acquire the knowledge needed to be good at digital marketing.

Currently I’m doing my dissertation and will be completing my undergraduate studies in November 2016. So what I’m going to do next?

As I was studying, I worked on few freelance projects related to SEO and Content Marketing. I decided to pursue my career in digital marketing though it is not as easy as it looks. Although I have worked on number of digital marketing projects I’m still lacking in real-life experience working with digital marketing agency. I know I’m 27 now and it might be too late for me to get real-life experience and land a high-paying job. But, I’m not giving up yet.

Though I can launch my own digital marketing agency today, I will definitely avoid doing it. You might ask me why. For me, experience is more valuable than money. I don’t want to fail again without having the knowledge and experience on how effective digital marketing strategies are being applied by organizations in Malaysia.

I’m staying focused with what I want to achieve in my life now. Yes, it was a disastrous journey for me as a failed digital marketing enthusiast. I’m determined to make changes with the choices I have in my life now.

This is what I have learned from my failure:

  1. Always listen to your parents. They are more experienced and knowledgeable. No parents want to see their children fail.
  2. Research anything thoroughly before making your decision. Not only for education but for everything that could change your life.
  3. It’s good to make mistakes but avoid making the same mistake again and again. You will end up being a total failure if you don’t realize and accept the mistakes you have done.
  4. Set attainable and realistic goals in life. Work hard towards them with the right plan. Developing the right plan is just the foundation. You got to hustle and put your hard work in achieving your gaols. Don’t get excited with ads promising $1000/per day with one hour work. If it was working 90% of us will be doing it.
  5. Experience is more valuable than money as I mentioned earlier. Experience will help you avoid uncertainties and mistakes.

This is just a short life story of a failed digital marketing enthusiast.

Are there any mistakes that makes you regret even today? Share with me by commenting below.